Objections Raised to Increased Law Enforcement Data Collection Powers

    Jan 10, 2017

    In its December 15 submission to Public Safety Canada’s consultation on national security, the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) urged the federal government to reject proposed legislative and regulatory changes that would provide law enforcement authorities with increased access to subscriber information. The letter also expressed concern with proposals to force Internet service providers to retain subscriber metadata for a set period, purchase communications interception equipment, and allow law enforcement to unscramble documents protected by encryption.

    “There is no doubt that, along with a myriad of benefits, technology has created new platforms for criminal or terrorist activity,” ITAC’s Christine Leonard wrote in a blog post. “While it is clear that law enforcement approaches to investigating and preventing crime need to adapt to these new platforms, it is critical that the government ensure that any changes to law enforcement powers do not undermine Canada’s innovation economy or the privacy or fundamental freedom of Canadians.”

    ITAC’s submission was in response to the federal government’s review of Canada’s national security framework, calling for improved privacy protections in the collection and use of metadata and in domestic and international information-sharing agreements. The framework was outlined in a Green Paper published by the Government of Canada in September 2016 to prompt a discussion about Canada's national security framework.

    In response, ITAC called on the government to build a consensus on the acceptable use and proper oversight of surveillance technologies before imposing new requirements on businesses.  The group’s submission raises concerns that new surveillance capabilities and backdoor requirements could undermine innovation and security, and urges that businesses be fully compensated for the cost of complying with any new requirements.


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